Distributive Trade: Theft

Attorney General written question – answered on 20th April 2022.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Attorney General

To ask the Attorney General, how many CPS prosecutions there have been to date for the theft of goods by customers from retail and wholesale premises that took place in the financial years (a) 2017/18 and (b) 2020/21.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk The Solicitor-General

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of prosecutions for thefts from retail or wholesale premises. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

While the CPS does not centrally collate data showing the number of people prosecuted for thefts from shops, data is available showing the number of offences of shop theft, charged by way of Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968, in which a prosecution commenced at magistrates’ courts. The table below provides this information for the years 2017-18 and 2020-21.

2017-2018

2020-2021

Theft Act 1968 {1(1) and 7} - Theft from shops

101,435

47,601

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

The figures relate to the number of offences and not the number of individual defendants. It may be the case that an individual defendant is charged with more than one offence. No data are held on the final outcome or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at finalisation.

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